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Use caution on roadways as deer hunting season gets underway; animals already on the move for winter in Finger Lakes

Every year there are more than 60,000 crashes involving vehicles and deer in New York. The state has a deer population of approximately 900,000, according to the latest data available.

Sheriff Kevin Henderson, of Ontario County, spoke with Finger Lakes News Radio recently – encouraging drivers to pay extra attention during the early-morning, and late-evening hours.

“Deer are moving now. We’re coming into hunting season, so definitely please pay attention out there,” Henderson said.

Regular deer and bear hunting season starts in New York’s Southern Zone on Saturday at sunrise, according to DEC officials.

It continues through December 13th.

DiSanto Propane (Billboard)

Around 85% of the state’s 550,000 licensed hunters take part in this portion of the hunting season. That activity translates to more accidents, though.

To avoid a collision with a deer or moose, drivers should reduce speed and watch for their presence on or near the highway. Here are more specific precautions to help prevent such accidents:

  • Use caution when driving at dawn or dusk and scan roads and roadsides ahead;
  • Reduce your speed at night and use high beams when possible;
  • Be sure all vehicle occupants wear seat belts and children are properly restrained in child safety seats;
  • Slow down when approaching deer or moose standing near the roadside, as they may suddenly bolt into the road;
  • Deer and moose often travel in pairs or groups, so if deer or moose are spotted crossing the road, slow down and be alert that others may follow;
  • Briefly use flashers or a headlight signal to warn approaching drivers when deer or moose are spotted in or near the highway;
  • Be especially alert and use caution when traveling through frequent deer or moose crossing areas, which are usually marked with “leaping stag” or moose signs;
  • Do not rely on devices, such as deer whistles, extra lights or reflectors, to deter deer. Research has shown that your best defense is your own responsible behavior;
  • Motorcyclists should be especially alert for deer as motorcycle-deer collisions have a higher fatality rate; and
  • If a deer does run in front of your vehicle, brake firmly but do not swerve. Swerving can cause a vehicle-vehicle collision or cause the vehicle to strike a pedestrian or potentially deadly fixed object, such as a tree or utility pole.

For more information about what to do if a deer-vehicle accident occurs, visit and The preceeding external link opens a new browser window.